Why we laugh when we know it’s wrong

For the Batek people of the Malaysian peninsula rainforest, laughter can be dangerous. Within the system of taboos of these egalitarian hunter-gatherers, laughing in certain situations can cause storms, illness or even death. And yet sometimes, Batek people—like anyone else—laugh when they know they shouldn’t. In fact, laughter can be especially pleasurable when it’s forbidden. What does this paradox tell […]

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Why stress and anxiety aren’t always bad

People generally think of stress and anxiety as negative concepts, but while both stress and anxiety can reach unhealthy levels, psychologists have long known that both are unavoidable—and that they often play a helpful, not harmful, role in our daily lives, according to a presentation at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. “Many Americans now feel stressed about […]

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Why Are So Many Parents Spying on Their Kids?

There it is: your teen’s phone, left (shockingly! fleetingly!) unattended. Maybe you’re ready to guess at the passcode; maybe you already know the code because that’s the agreement in your house. Either way, you are suddenly seized with an intense desire to see what your offspring is up to online. Friends: Don’t do it. Seriously. Parents, when did we decide […]

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